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The 10 Best Bars In Kyoto, Japan
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The 10 Best Bars In Kyoto, Japan

Picture of Elizabeth Lee
Updated: 9 February 2017
Kyoto, Japan, has preserved much of its historical buildings and aesthetic from ancient times, while gaining international recognition. This has translated over to its nightlife. Here are the 10 best spots to drink.
Kyoto, Japan © Alejandro
Kyoto, Japan | © Alejandro
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Kurakura (蔵倉)

This izakaya offers a relaxing atmosphere for enjoying sake, Japanese beer, and traditional Japanese food such as sashimi. Kurakura is decorated in the traditional style of the Japanese tavern. With its wooden ceiling, tatami mats, and seating on the floor, it is sure to give you an authentic Japanese experience. What better place to try this than Imperial Japan’s ancient capital?

244 Ameyacho, Simogyo-ku, Kyoto, +81 75-351-0347

Sashimi © Elsie Hui
Sashimi | © Elsie Hui
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Beer Komachi

Beer Komachi is one of the best craft beer bars in Kyoto. The family-run establishment has a friendly and warm atmosphere, making it a great place to hang with friends or to meet new ones. Though their drinks do not have a lot of variety beyond beers, there is a great selection of craft beers on tap, of both local and overseas brews.

444 Hachikencho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto 605-0027, +81 75-746-6152

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Fishbowl

Looking for a bar that’s a little more familiar? Try Fishbowl. This chic Western bar located near Sanjo station is one of the most popular with internationals, due to their great cocktails and English speaking staff. Their extensive menu includes pretty much every kind of liqueur you can think of, as well as bar snacks. This is a great place to meet locals and other travelers.

Empire Building 7F Kiyamachi Dori Sanjo Agaru, Kyoto, +81 75-211-6387

Strawberry Martini © daspunkt
Strawberry Martini | © daspunkt
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Jo Social Sake Bar (釀)

This fun sake bar offers a new experience of the traditional drink, with its fun and relaxed atmosphere. At Jo Social Sake Bar, you can sample different kinds of sake and learn more about the liqueur. The English-speaking staff are well-informed about sake and can inform you about the different vintages they serve. Even if you’re not familiar with the drink, they have great recommendations.

126 Ishiyacho, Kiyamachidori, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto 604-8002, +81 75-231-1318

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Sayura Vins Fins

Sayura Vins Fins is a classy establishment that offers wine, which is mostly imported from France, as well as other alcoholic drinks. This restaurant is situated in a former geisha house in Gion, Kyoto’s most famous geisha training district and one of the most popular tourist spots. The interior is decorated in a traditional Japanese style, juxtaposing the distinctly French wine and food. This is an east-meets-west sophistication.

570-120 Gionmachi Minamigawa Higashiyama-ku Kyoto, +81-75-551-1599

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Shishin Samurai Cafe & Bar (士心 サムライカフェ&バー)

A small, intimate restaurant and bar, Shishin Samurai Cafe & Bar is a favorite hangout of locals. The establishment, located in a 100-year-old house, fosters a great sense of community that encourages you to talk and meet new people. With the fantastic traditional fare and Japanese beers, this bar exudes a warm and friendly atmosphere. Here, you can learn more about Japanese culture and the samurai spirit by chatting with the locals.

230-1 Kamimyōkakujichō, Nakagyou-ku, Kyoto, +81 75-231-5155

Asahi Beer © Magnus D

Asahi Beer © Magnus D

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Agave Kyoto (アガヴェ京都)

One branch of Japan’s largest tequila bar, Agave Kyoto has an impressive collection of 400 different kinds of tequila on its menu. Even if you prefer a milder taste, they have a fantastic selection of tequila-based cocktails. Paying homage to the roots of tequila, this bar is decorated with traditional Mexican art and aesthetic style. Whether you’re a fan of tequila or not, this cosy bar is worth a visit.

Times Bldg. 3F, Sanjocho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto 604-8004, +81 075-254-7605

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Pig & Whistle

This British pub has been a favorite of locals and international expats and travelers in Kyoto for 30 years, due to its authentic British style, friendly and fun atmosphere, and great selection of drinks and food. Conveniently located near Sanjo station, Pig & Whistle has 10 kinds of beer, both local and international, on tap, as well as whiskeys and cocktails. With their dart boards and sports games on TV, this British pub is a great place to hang out and make new friends.

Shobi building 2F, 115 Ohashicho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto 605-0009, +81 075-761-6022

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Sky Lounge Kuu (スカイラウンジ「空」kuu)

This chic bar is located on the observation deck of the Kyoto Tower Hotel, offering a dining and drinking experience with a spectacular view over Kyoto. Sky Lounge Kuu has a delicious cocktail list, a great selection of other liqueur, and also serves beautifully presented food. Much more impressive is the view over downtown Kyoto, which is as modernized and glittering as any metropolis, a far cry from the quaint, old-fashioned architecture the city is famous for.

Kyoto Tower Hotel, 721-1 Higashishiokoji-cho, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto, +81 75-352-0253

Kyoto Tower © Martin Abegglen
Kyoto Tower | © Martin Abegglen
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Yoramu (よらむ)

Japan is famous for its sake, but it’s difficult to learn more about savoring the drink. Yoramu is a small, traditional shop that allows you to sample different kinds of sake. The owner, who is proud of his collection, is happy to explain to you the special points of each different drink and how you should savor it. To learn about sake and its place in Japanese culture, visit Yoramu to learn about the Japanese’s art of sake.

35-1 Matsuyacho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto 604-0831, +81 75-213-1512